When you ask kids what they maybe want to become when they grow up, most of them will probably say something like become a fireman, an astronaut, a truck driver, a millionaire or a policeman. How would it sound if someone said, a poet? Strange enough for sure, but that’s exactly my case when I was a kid…
I’ve always liked reading anagnosis literature, even when I was still very young and was just beginning to read and write. Most children find non illustrated books with text rather boring as soon as they can read, but I was really fascinated by just the idea that so much information and stories could remain hidden in a small or larger book. I just wanted to read about them.
I actually began reading at about the age of 5, actually before my teachers at school started to teach me how. Of course I was not a genius to learn how to write by myself at that age, I had the help from both my mother and father, who love reading too. My parents used to buy me books for children that had many small funny poems about animals, fruit and other subjects and stories that are suitable and not so difficult to be understood by children. I really liked the fact that these poems where so funny and that’s why I decided at that time that I would like to become a poet later on, when I grow up.
In fact, this is how I began to read and write as a child. My mother and I used to make our own funny poems and write them down in a notepad or notebook. They were rather simple, just a two or three lines and most probably full of animal sounds and other silly stuff. But they seemed so funny to me and I really loved them, actually more than playing with my toys, watching TV, going to the playground etc. My mother kept many of that poems and gave them to me when I grew up and was able to understand how valuable they really were for both my parents and me. They have my handwriting as a child and a few vocabulary mistakes and missing letters but that’s not the point.
It turned out that I would not become a poet after all some years later. As a student though I really loved reading books, more than the average kids of my age did. When it was time to go to the university, I chose communication and mass media studies and actually became a journalist. Although I do not write poems for a living or just for hobby, as I was dreaming when I was a little kid, writing and reading is something a still like and managed to make it my paid job.
In addition, for the last 2 years I am into university again, studying Greek Literature. I am very proficient with the language, that’s sure, my intention was certainly not to improve in that area. My goal was to have the chance to study literature on a theoretical level and analyze texts from both ancient and modern Greek writers. Studying ancient Greek is also an essential step, since it really helps to understand and use the language in a better way.
In a sidebar way, sadly for me, all this sitting and reading has made me gain some weight. I don’t think the American way of doing weight watchers kind of approach, is going to work for me. So instead, I’ve recently figured out the gastric sleeve procedure, now I eat less, which means losing less.
The Greek language has a big advantage and also a big disadvantage. The disadvantage is that it doesn’t sound so “poetic” to non natives. This is of course not a serious problem since it really sounds good to Greek speaking people and can be poetic to their ears… The main advantage on the other hand is that Greek is one of the richest languages one can find around the world.
Although through the ages the language has gradually been simplified in many ways and many words are no longer used, modern Greek still maintains a vast variety of words and expressions that can describe things, emotions, etc. in detail. The same is true for the grammar and syntax. For non native Greeks, learning Greek can be a real nightmare because of this complexity and of course pronunciation problems that are also a concern in these cases. It’s much easier to learn the language as a kid and literally you never stop learning the language during your whole life.
The complexity of the language is what gives it a strong point when used in literature. The thing I personally like is that you can “play” with tenses if you need to and can express even complicated emotions and situations in just a word or two. There’s a word available for almost everything. If you have a good vocabulary you can make miracles, especially with poetry and narrations, that are traditionally of course two difficult areas of literature to cope with, in any language.
This is basically a reason why so many Greek litterateurs have achieved so great international distinctions over the last decades and the previous century. My personal favorites, Odysseus Elytis and George Seferis have both been awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1979 and 1963 respectively despite the fact that they were written in Greek, which as I told you above is not so non native friendly. Their work has been translated in many languages and can be found very easily.
Giannis Ritsos and Costas Varnalis are also among my favorites. Because of the fact that they were communists, they were not awarded with Nobel Prizes but with Lenin Prizes instead, that were given by the Soviet Union until 1990 and were more or less equivalent. Regardless of the political beliefs of each litterateur and the side they took during the Cold War, they were then and are still widely considered 4 of the most significant people in the world of literature.
All 4 of them were actually poets and their work, as poems or songs, are still loved and appreciated even by people who have no idea of who their writers were and in what situations these masterpieces were created.
- Why I Did Not Quit Studying Greek Literature
- E-books Vs Traditional Books
- Homer, the founder of European literature
- Noticing evolution in Greek Language
History of Athens
- Prehistoric Athens: Athens before history (5000-1500)
- Mycenaean Athens: The Athens of Legend (1500-1200)
- Dark Age Athens: The Centuries of Obscurity (1200-750)
- Archaic Athens I: The Age of Tyrants (750-528)
- Archaic Athens II: The Birth of Democracy (528-494)
- Archaic Athens III: The Persian Threat (494-478)
- Classical Athens I: The Golden Age (478-431)
- Classical Athens II: The Struggle for Supremacy (431-404)
- Classical Athens III: The Intellectual Centre (404-339)
- Hellenistic Athens: Athens Under the Macedonians (339-168)
- Roman Athens I: Under the Republic (168-31)
- Roman Athens II: Under the Empire (31 BC – AD 303)
- Byzantine Athens: Within the Christian Orthodox Empire (303-1205)
- Crusader Athens I: Burgundian Athens (1205-1311)
- Crusader Athens II: Catalan Athens (1311-1388)
- Crusader Athens III: Florentine Athens (1388-1456)
- Ottoman Athens I: Early Ottoman Athens (1456-1684)
- Venetian Athens: Venetian Interlude (1684-1689)
- Ottoman Athens II: Later Ottoman Athens (1689-1821)
- Revolutionary Athens: The War of Independence (1821-1833)
- Athens under the Bavarians I: The New Capital City (1833-1843)
- Athens under the Bavarians II: The Constitutional Monarchy (1843-1862)
- Georgian Athens: (1863-1912)
- Wartime Athens: Athens During the Balkan and First World Wars (1912-1918)
- Athens between the Wars (1918-1940)
- Athens under the Swastika: The Nazi Occupation of Athens (1941-1944)
- Athens under the British: The Civil War I (1944-1947)
- Athens under the Americans I: The Civil War II (1947-1949)
- Athens under the Americans II: The False Democracy (1949-1967)
- Athens under the Americans III: The Dictatorship (1967-1974)